The 17th of May marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), a global movement to call attention to ongoing LGBTQIA+ Human Rights Violations. As Filipinos suffer through the world’s longest lockdown, the time to act against the oppression faced by the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community is as critical as ever.

These long months have been marked by negligence, corruption, and a spate of state-sanctioned cruelty. We have seen the news of abusive treatment of LGBTQIA+ minors in Pandaqui and trans women in Zamboanga justified as curfew discipline, reports of queer families in being denied aid, trans people in Cebu barred from checkpoints, and cases of harassment and blatant anti-trans statements by Isla Reta. All of these have occurred as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact livelihoods and cut many lives heartbreakingly short.

Despite these injustices, Congress continues to turn a blind eye to the grief of the LGBTQIA+ community. On May 11, discussions on the proposed Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill resumed; and as the House Committee on Human Rights conducted a hearing where previously agreed-upon provisions related to sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) were contested, and proceedings were conducted in the glaring absence of human rights activists and LGBTQIA+ rights organizations.

We urge the Philippine government and other stakeholders to protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, as we continue working together on a timely and relevant response to the ongoing pandemic.

We appeal to government institutions and organizations responding to the needs of those severely impacted by the pandemic to put a stop to the blatant discrimination of people diverse SOGIESC and their families.

We appeal to legislators to pass legislation and adopting public policies that recognize and highlight the vulnerabilities that lead to violence and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people, which are magnified when placed beside the sheer inaccessibility of quality public health services.

Meaningful and relevant government response to the needs and vulnerabilities of LGBTQIA+ people can only be done through meaningful and relevant collaboration with the LGBTQIA community. Excluding those of us whom the law and policies seek to protect in the creation of the law only furthers the violence and discrimination against us.

To all persons committed to seeking justice for the LGBTQIA+ community: as PRIDE MONTH approaches, we welcome each and every one of you to join us in actively creating safe spaces and dedicating ourselves to radical acts of care.

Our community has survived and endured decades of hardship, but we need not merely survive and endure. Beyond mere tolerance, beyond mere awareness, we urge persons of all backgrounds and faiths to join us as we seek compassion, justice, and the room to live freely, secure in the full recognition of our rights in an equal and just society.


Metro Manila Pride
17 May 2021

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